As happens periodically, I’ve reached a point where freeze-dried food (though a vast improvement over the 80s versions) is starting to all taste like sawdust. So, for a while, I’m thinking of preparing some simple meals using one of the Knorr side dishes (pasta or rice) with a pouch of chicken, tuna, or salmon added.

I haven’t used those side dishes since the early 2000’s, and there seems to be a much greater variety available now. So, for any of you who use them, I’ve got a few questions:

1. How easy are they to prepare in the backcountry? (I’m thinking of using a white gas stove, the Whisperlite, which I can get to simmer by not overpressurizing the bottle.)

2. Some of them call for adding milk. Obviously, I’ll not be carrying milk, but I was wondering if you could simply add powdered milk to the pouch contents, then add the water called for in the instructions plus the water needed to rehydrate the powdered milk, and bring it to a boil as called for in the instructions.

3. The instructions seem to specify using a 2-quart pot, but you end up only adding a cup or so of liquid to the contents of the pack. I’m thinking a 1 quart pot would work just as well - or do you need the broader area for the ingredients to be shallow for cooking?

4. What type of cook wear do you use for this type of cooking? Popular wisdom has it that titanium scorches too easily when you try to actually cook in it. I still have a stainless steel pot that I could use, if it works better. I’m not really interested in aluminum or non-stick cookware.

Any other thoughts you have would be welcome.